Counsel in the Crease: A Big League Player in the Hockey Wars

Robert Swados, Author, Scotty Bowman, Foreword by
Robert Swados, Author, Scotty Bowman, Foreword by . Prometheus $25 (492p) ISBN 978-1-59102-355-5
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Reading attorney Swados's fascinating if overlong autobiography of his half-decade of legal battles is rather like reading the full transcript of federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's recent indictment of vice-presidential aide "Scooter" Libby. Initially, both seem interminably meticulous accounts of relatively simple events, yet readers who stick with them until the end are greatly rewarded, since each author uses an obsession with detail in a sophisticated way to reveal the complexity behind his subject. In Swados's case, the bulk of his career was as counsel to various professional baseball and hockey organizations, and most of his book covers his single-minded efforts to bring sports franchises to the Buffalo, N.Y., area. But starting with an account of his WWII experience liberating Dachau when he was in the army, he begins a theme of unremitting conflict in which most incidents in the book are described in military terms, as wars Swados must win. One of his major battles was establishing the Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League, and fans of that team will thoroughly enjoy Swados's insider views of the Sabres and its various owners. General hockey fans will be enlightened by Swados's insights into the sport's various financial and legal imbroglios. (Jan.)

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